Published: Fri, September 21, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Imran calls for talks to end Saudi-Yemen dispute

Imran calls for talks to end Saudi-Yemen dispute

"Anyone who comes to power in Pakistan will visit Saudi Arabia first as the two countries share a strong people-to-people relationship", Mr Khan said in his first interview to foreign media after becoming prime minister. Pakistan on Wednesday said it is "engaged" with India to facilitate a bilateral meeting between the two foreign ministers on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. "We, however, owe it to our peoples, especially the future generations, to peacefully resolve all outstanding issues, including the Jammu and Kashmir dispute", the Prime Minister wrote.

The cricketer-turned-politician has asked PM Modi to look at arranging a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly scheduled to happen in New York, US later in September. The newly-elect Pakistan PM also suggested a meeting between the foreign ministers and said Pakistan "remains ready" to discuss terrorism.

India has accepted the other proposal as its Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi are expected to meet in NY on September 27.

Earlier, PM Narendra Modi had himself expressed his intentions to hold a "meaningful and constructive" engagement between the two countries. Following the strikes, India announced it will not engage in talks with Pakistan, saying terror and talks can not go hand-in-hand.

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Pakistan's finance minister, Asad Umar, on Tuesday admitted the economic crisis was deepening before he set off to accompany Mr Khan. "We await formal response from India". He said Siachen and Sir Creek also need close attention to move towards resolution.

Afterwards, Modi told Khan that India was ready for a "new era" of ties with Pakistan and called for crafting collective strategy for combating regional challenges.

India has blamed Pakistan-based groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed for cross-border attacks that derailed the peace process and stalled the Saarc Summit, which was to be hosted by Islamabad in November 2016. "Talks and terror can't go together", government said, reasserting New Delhi's stand. However, India had denied Pakistan Foreign Minister SM Qureshi's claims.

Noting the upgrade in relations, thinktank RUSI recently reported that Pak-Saudi relations had entered the "strategic domain where both countries are fine with each in pursuing their own interests independently". Tharoor added that the paradox of India-Pakistan relations is that there is very little problem between Indians and Pakistanis as people.

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